FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear focused his weekly Team Kentucky update on the continuing stabilization efforts following the historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky, sharing news that Owsley County has been added to the list of impacted areas approved for Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Governor also updated Kentuckians on new economic development projects, assistance for nonprofits, the ongoing decline in gas prices, the growing economic impact of Kentucky’s tourism industry and COVID-19. He also named members of the Kentucky National Guard, Kentucky State Police and Lexington Fire Department as this week’s Team Kentucky All-Stars.
Eastern Kentucky Flood Update
The Governor announced today that FEMA has approved Individual Assistance for Owsley County. The counties currently approved include Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Owsley, Perry and Pike.
Currently, renters and homeowners in these counties who were affected by the severe storms, flooding and mudslides that began July 26 may apply for individual disaster assistance by visiting one of the in-person mobile registration centers, applying online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).
“Let me address something – there are a lot of rumors out there about who qualifies for FEMA or who can apply,” said Gov. Beshear. “Everyone who has been significantly impacted by the flooding in the eight counties approved for Individual Assistance needs to apply for FEMA. It’s a requirement for our travel trailers and it will be a requirement for other programs. Please apply.”
Two FEMA Mobile Registration Centers have been added in Floyd and Pike counties. There are now a total of nine mobile registration centers. Hours for all the centers are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. FEMA representatives will be at the centers to help with applications for federal assistance and to provide information about other disaster recovery resources. For additional information visit governor.ky.gov/floodresources.
Gov. Beshear said today the number of confirmed fatalities in the flooding remains at 37.
Kentucky State Police (KSP) reports there are two missing persons still being searched for in relation to the flooding. This number is fluid and reflects reports made only to KSP.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will reach 95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit today in Eastern Kentucky. Slow-moving thunderstorms could lead to local heavy rainfall and high water today and Friday, with the possibility of strong to damaging wind gusts.
There are a total of eleven cooling stations across Breathitt, Floyd, Johnson, Letcher, Perry, Pike and Wolfe counties. For current details visit governor.ky.gov/floodresources.
- Emergency Shelters – 76 occupants in shelters
- Parks – 293 people are being housed at Kentucky State Parks.
- Jenny Wiley State Park: 172 people
- Paintsville State Park: 4 people
- Pine Mountain State Resort Park: 2
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park: 115
- Travel Trailers: 68 travel trailers delivered
- 25 at Jenny Wiley State Park in Floyd County
- 25 at Mine Made Campground in Knott County
- 18 at Carr Creek State Park in Knott County
- Red Cross – 143 individuals in eight Red Cross shelters in six counties
Kentucky National Guard
- 389 Guard members supporting the flood efforts in Eastern Kentucky.
- 11,682 cases of water distributed.
- 118 pallets of food, 332 meals distributed.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) has awarded a contract for removal and disposal of debris on state and county rights-of-way. Information regarding debris drop-off locations will soon be added to governor.ky.gov/floodresources.
Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund
- Total number of donations: 24,100
- Donated amount: $3,426,962.96
- Distribution update: The first payments are going out.
- So far, $120,000 in funeral payments have been paid to the families of 12 lost loved ones. This includes funeral payments to the family of the four young siblings.
- 3,044, down from 5,068 reported yesterday.
- Drinking Water:
- 13,590 service connections without water, down from 18,002 reported yesterday.
- 41,004 Service Connections under Boil Water Advisory, down from 45,656 reported yesterday.
- Three wastewater systems not operational.
- 14 wastewater systems under limited operation, down from 17 reported yesterday.
- Two wastewater plants are experiencing bypasses, down from three reported yesterday.
- 13 systems are experiencing discharges from portions of their collection systems.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
Residents in the seven Eastern Kentucky counties that were approved prior to today for individual assistance can begin applying immediately for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) benefits. Impacted residents in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Perry and Pike counties can file a claim for DUA benefits online through the Kentucky Career Center website kcc.ky.gov or by phone at 502-875-0442. You do not need to appear in person to file a DUA claim. The Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance will have staff available at two locations beginning at 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5, to help claimants file for benefits:
- Floyd County Community Center
9188 KY Highway 80
Langley, KY 41645
- Knott County Sportsplex
450 Kenny Champion Loop #8765
Leburn, KY 41831
Agency staff will soon be available to assist claimants in every county. More information about those locations, as well as any additional counties being added for DUA, will be announced in future updates and will be available at governor.ky.gov/floodresources.
New Popup Licensing Locations
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) driver licensing staff will be making one-day “popup” visits at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Pine Mountain State Resort Park and Buckhorn State Resort Park between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. EDT to help Kentuckians replace driver’s licenses, permits and ID cards. An additional “popup” will begin today at the Knott County Sportsplex from 12 to 5 p.m. EDT. For more information or additional locations and hours of operation, visit governor.ky.gov/floodresources.
A fraudulent text message (to see photos, click here, here and here) impersonating an official KYTC message was reportedly sent to several people this week. The sender appears to target flood victims by including a link to submit information related to the waiver of card and registration replacement fees. The text message is not from KYTC, and recipients are warned not to click the link. While the cabinet may send text messages about Driver Licensing Regional offices, it will never solicit personal information via text. Victims who have submitted any personal information are advised to visit the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General website, ag.ky.gov, to follow their guidance concerning potential identity theft.
Economic Development Update
Today, the Governor highlighted three economic development projects related to Kentucky’s growing electric vehicle industry that are investing over $550 million and creating 384 jobs. He also noted that during last week’s meeting of the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority alone, private-sector companies were approved for state tax incentive on new-location and expansion projects totaling over $1 billion in new investments and creating more than 800 full-time jobs.
“We have to do two things at once. We have to help people get back on their feet. We have to rebuild Eastern and Western Kentucky, which have been hit so hard,” Gov. Beshear said. “At the same time we are doing that, we have to provide a bright future for all Kentuckians, and one thing that gives hope to all these regions is jobs.”
On Monday, Gov. Beshear announced continued growth of electric vehicle-related manufacturing in the commonwealth, as Ascend Elements Inc., a producer of advanced, sustainable battery materials made from recycled lithium-ion batteries, will invest $310 million and create 250 full-time jobs in Christian County. The Governor noted this is the single largest economic development project in the county’s history.
On Tuesday, the Governor and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman congratulated Flottweg Separation Technology Inc. as company representatives and local officials celebrated the groundbreaking of the liquid-solid separation equipment manufacturer’s new warehouse facility in Boone County. This is a $1.75 million investment that will create 12 high-wage jobs.
Today Gov. Beshear announced the latest electric-vehicle-related investment in Kentucky, as LOTTE Aluminium Materials USA LLC will locate an aluminum foil manufacturing operation in Hardin County with a $238.7 million investment that will create 122 full-time jobs.
Relief for Nonprofits
The Governor announced a $75 million fund to help Kentucky’s nonprofit organizations recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Team Kentucky Nonprofit Assistance Fund will provide one-time direct relief payments, up to $100,000 per eligible nonprofit organization.
The Kentucky Nonprofit Network has information to assist nonprofits in the application process and other technical information posted on its website at kynonprofits.org. Nonprofits can apply at TeamKYnonprofitfund.ky.gov.
Decrease in Gas Prices
Today, Gov. Beshear shared the good news that gas prices have dropped by 70 cents over the last month in the commonwealth. The average price for gas in Kentucky is almost 40 cents lower than the national average of $4.139 at $3.743, according to the American Automobile Association, or AAA.
To see a full list of actions Gov. Beshear has taken to provide Kentuckian’s relief from high gas prices, click here.
Economic Impact of Tourism Industry
Today, Gov. Beshear and Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry announced Kentucky tourism exceeded 2021 expectations with a total economic impact reaching $11.2 billion, generating 83,100 jobs across the commonwealth. According to a study from Tourism Economics, in 2021, travel confidence rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic in Kentucky, with total visitation recovering to approximately 96% of 2019 volumes.
Gov. Beshear noted that all 120 Kentucky counties have a COVID-19 Community Level that is medium or high (orange or red), with roughly two-thirds at high or red level. According to data from the CDC, the Omicron BA.5 is the predominant variant and is estimated to cause over 85% of cases in the U.S.
Although the number of Kentuckians hospitalized for COVID-19 has increased over the past several weeks, hospitalizations remain much lower than what was observed during other surges.
The Governor encouraged those who are sick to stay home so as not to spread disease to others. If you are sick or have had a known close contact to someone with COVID-19, please test yourself to lower the risk that you are spreading the virus unknowingly to others.
Team Kentucky All-Stars
Gov. Beshear recognized the Kentucky National Guard hoist team and the Kentucky State Police aircraft branch as this week’s Team Kentucky All-stars. The Governor thanked them for their continued hard work in rescue and recovery efforts following the devastating flooding in Eastern Kentucky. In attendance was Kentucky State Police Captain Brad Austin, commander of the Aircraft Branch, who oversees all air rescue missions for the state police, as well as four Kentucky National Guard hoist soldiers: Chief Warrant Officer 4 Travis Womer, flight medic Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Krull, crew chief Sgt. Robert Lemmon and flight medic Sgt. Ashley Renye.
“We were part of 78 hoist operations in Eastern Kentucky,” said Sgt. Lemmon. “It is important to note that we are neighbors helping neighbors. The special thing about the Kentucky National Guard is that we live here too, so it’s personal when we take part in these missions.”
“This is a special group of folks that live in your community. They just did something that I am not sure we have ever seen: 1,300 plus rescues in a short period of time, pulling people from the tops of roofs that are the only thing left, getting them to safety. It is absolutely incredible work,” said Gov. Beshear. “People have seen the videos. It is just astounding the capabilities, the expertise of these amazing guardsmen and women. On behalf of Kentucky, thank you all so much.”
Gov. Beshear also named the Lexington Fire Department Swift Water Crew and Mobile Ambulance Bus Crew as All-Stars and mentioned that he would be visiting them later in the day to acknowledge the heroism in their response and recovery efforts.